Igesund hoping for open game
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Durban - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is hoping Morocco will come at South Africa when the two sides meet in their pivotal Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) encounter in Durban on Sunday.
Kick-off is at 19:00.
The hosts need just a point to ensure their passage into the last eight, but will have to be wary against a team knowing that victory in the Group A tie is their only guarantee of a place in the next round.
“I’m expecting, and actually hoping, that they will come at us tomorrow because if they do that then it is going to be a very open game,” Igesund told a pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“In that situation I would like to back ourselves."
“You know we are obviously going to see what they want to do but we know what they need to do, they need to win the game and that is the bottom line.”
Igesund confirmed ahead of the game that injured striker Lehlohonolo Majoro is not entirely ruled out, but fellow forward Tokelo Rantie’s was only due to be known later on Saturday.
“The doctor was talking to me now and saying that if we really need him (Majoro) we can risk it,” the coach explained.
“So that is something to think about but no decision has been made yet.
“Rantie didn’t do anything yesterday and had treatment overnight, a lot of ice on and we’re giving him a match fitness test this afternoon.” Majoro suffered a deep cut to his shin during the last match and required several stitches, while Rantie twisted an ankle in the same game.
Two players that are available again are Kagisho Dikgacoi (knee) and Lerato Chabangu (groin) after they were ruled out of the Angola clash.
The South Africans can qualify for the quarter-final with all three results - a win, draw and even a loss - although they will also need the Angolans to either beat or share the spoils with Cape Verde Islands.
Morocco must win the match to assure qualification, but a draw may be enough if there is a similar scoreline in the other game.
“I don’t think that we have to shy away from the fact that Morocco is a good footballing country and they always have a top, top team,” Igesund said.
“As you know some of their players play for Liverpool, Galatasaray, Fiorentina…so they have a good team."
“I think it will be a very interesting game and it is dangerous against a team that has nothing to lose, they take risks and we must be prepared that when we take those risks that we can capitalise on them.”
The coach also reiterated that there will be no complacency from his side, who he said “knew exactly what they had to do” at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where a sell-out 50 000 crowd was expected.
“They know that we haven’t achieved anything yet,” he added.
“We haven’t conceded a goal which is fantastic, we’ve been getting better as we get along and we’ve won our first game in the AFCON.
“It’s nice, it’s very exciting, but we know that we’ve got a big job to do on Sunday.”